If you like science fiction and espionage novels then you can’t go wrong with G. T. Almasi’s amazing Shadowstorm series, set in an alternate future where the USSR, United States, and China share an uneasy balance of power with Greater Germany – a sprawling superpower since winning World War II. The four great powers play deadly games of espionage using “Levels”: high-tech spies enhanced with cutting edge cybertechnology. With the new Shadowstorm novel Hammer of Angels coming out on February 25, I thought I’d ask Almasi how he’d imagine fitting into his own stories. He responded with this short bit of fiction. Enjoy!
Techie by G. T. Almasi
I hold the bullet-proof vest up to the window. Light beams through in at least a dozen places.
“Dang!” It’s my boss, looking on from his workbench. “Who died in that?”
“Nobody, as far as I know.” I put the mangled piece of SoftArmor back on the table and pick up the vest’s library card. “It was Scarlet’s.”
“Ah, I should have known.” My boss returns to the beaten-up Bitchgun on his bench. “Her gear always comes back like that.”
“Worse than the other Levels?”
“Naw. You should have seen the wrecks her father brought to me.”
This is my first week at Extreme Operations. I could be fixing cars at my father’s garage. Instead, here I am repairing shoulder-fired mortars, pistols with gyroscopic aiming systems, and satellite-grade nano-fiber body armor. For all the Shadowstorm movies and books I absorbed, I never dreamed equipment like this existed. All of it is light, powerful, and practically indestructible.
Yet the Levels still manage to destroy some of it. Now that I’ve seen the hammering our weapons and armor endure, I’m glad I flunked the field agent test.
A thump sounds from the counter where we issue the gear and take the returns. I walk over. A small black slab, like a thick credit card, sits on the surface. I look up at the person who brought it.
“Oh, hey,” I exclaim a little too loudly. Her red hair sprouts above the bandages covering her face. Her eyes follow mine like a hawk’s.
“S’up,” she drawls.
“What can I do for you?”
“My Day-Loop,” she pushes the little slab toward me. It’s a 24-hour recording device that’s part of her bio-implant suite.
I gingerly pick up the component. It’s bent. “What happened to it?”
She inhales slowly, then says, “First it smashed into a steering wheel, then it fell in a river, and finally it got electrocuted.”
I ogle the warped piece of tech. These things can’t bend. I look up at Scarlet, then back down at the wrecked Day-Loop in my hands.
“Ah, ha-hm,” I sputter, “I think this unit needs to be replaced.”
“Sounds good,” she spins on her heel and stalks out of the shop. “Lemme know when you have one ready.”
The door narrowly misses her butt as it sighs shut.
More about Hammer of Angels:
In G. T. Almasi’s thrilling alternate reality, the United States, the USSR, and the Republic of China share a fragile balance of power with Greater Germany, which emerged from World War II in control of Europe and half of the Middle East. To avoid nuclear Armageddon, the four superpowers pursue their ambitions with elite spies known as Levels, who are modified with mechanical and chemical enhancements.
Nineteen-year-old Alix Nico, code-named Scarlet, is a kick-ass superheroine with killer Mods and an attitude to match. She’s considered one of America’s top Levels, even though her last mission nearly precipitated World War III. So now Scarlet and her new partner, Darwin, have been sent to Greater Germany to help sow the seeds of anarchy and prevent Germany’s defection to Russia and China.
But where Scarlet goes, chaos follows—and when her mission takes an unexpected turn, she and Darwin must go ever deeper into enemy territory. As Scarlet grapples with a troubling attraction to her new partner, explosive information comes to light about the German cloning program and one of its prisoners—a legendary American Level who just happens to be Scarlet’s father.